It's Friday, and you're looking forward to your weekend... But then you look at your day list and see there is a molar endo booked in at 5:30pm? It may have been the appointment was booked because the Patient wanted to come after work, or had to consider the school run. Or perhaps, you are so conscientious that you asked reception to book molar endo at the end of the Friday afternoon.

Did you consider if you would be at your freshest, most alert or happiest at the end of the day to carry out a difficult treatment? Most people, and that includes dentists and their team, are at their freshest in the morning. So it's an ideal time to book in complex cases earlier in the day so you are more capable. This simple hack could increase your success rates and productivity, as well as reduce complaints due to greater patient satisfaction. Systemise as much as you can to deliver a win-win for the dentist and the patient.

This simple hack could increase your success rates and productivity, as well as reduce complaints due to greater patient satisfaction.

Certain dental procedures are a lot more precision based than others, and require a lot more focus to do really well. I love doing recalls (dental check-ups) at the end of the session. Zoned appointments allow me to start recharging even before I have finished. Dentistry is one of those professions where on a good day you feel fully recharged emotionally, whereas on a bad day you can feel completely drained. There does not seem to be a middle ground. Organising your appointments into zones could significanty improve your efficiency, patient rapport, and your enjoyment of dentistry.

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How you explain your available appointments will often have a positive effect. When the dentist is discussing treatment with the Patient, it's a good time to ask the patient, "It's a difficult procedure. Can I get you to arrange a morning appointment so I can focus on your treatment fully. We organise our appointments so there are less distractions when I am doing your treatment". Patients are usually more accepting when the dentist explains this rather than the hearing it the first time from reception.

Chronic stress is directly linked to burnout in the dentist and seems to creep in under the radar. The conscientious dentist doesn't realise until it's already happened. Sometimes the signs were there but were going unnoticed. Perhaps one of them could have been you did the most difficult treatments at the end of the day. Perhaps you left work still in work mode re-running scenarios in your mind on your way home, and feeling even more tired, then possibly spending your weekends trying to recharge for work again on Monday. Could zoning appointments improve your efficiency, reduce chronic stress, increase patient satisfaction, increase your job satisfaction? It's worth a try.